Monday 2 April 2018

History suggests

History suggests
the 1914 Christmas period along the Western Front
was dotted with ceasefires
—in some cases, outright accord across no-man’s land;
on one occasion a game of soccer.

Is this not reflected in our common lives
in our brushes
with common gentleness?

For where does the front not exist?

For some,
the battlelines are drawn against a loneliness,
for some against addictions,
memories of abuse

or just their jobs
or the chronic pains in their backs.

Where is it the trenches are filled in?

For I’m still fighting my father’s war,
still signing up for battle,
still raging at shadows
as the sun sets on the battlefield

and the tears flow
in the darkness.

The front line is ubiquitous.

so are those moments
when we leave the trenches

and share in friendships
and pleases
and thank-yous

and ask about each other’s days.

—Those moments
of stilled humanity
and empty trenches far behind our backs.

We often despair of human moments
as all too rare

but where does the front line not manifest?

Might it be truer to be proud
that these human moments
even exist at all?

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